“No permission is sought, or granted,” Harris wrote. “There is no opt-out clause for authors or publishers. This is censorship, not by the State, but by a religious minority, and if you think it sounds trivial, take a moment to think about this…
“ISIS are currently destroying antiquities and historical sites in the Middle East, including the ancient city of Nimrud, the walls of Nineveh and statues up to 8000 years old.
“And all in the name of purity, morality and good taste.”
Others have condemned the app as “f***ing horrifying,” and apparently laying the foundation for a rerun of the 1933 Nazi Germany mass book burnings. And more.
Based on how strongly so many feel, I did as Harris asked. I did take a moment to think…..
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson’s Comments About Filming ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Are Kind of Appalling
Previously I’ve addressed the book in general terms – although I have not read it; and I have no plans to see the film – largely because as writers we can’t pretend it’s not there. Indeed it’s foolish for any fiction/ romance author to imagine it’s honestly possible to ignore (for the moment anyway) its reach and impact. It’s that 800 pound gorilla on the bookshelf.
I didn’t wear reading glasses before writing Passports. Although I do suspect now that I probably could have used them before. Since 2013-14, though, I have noticed my reading sight has deteriorated a bit more: it’s probably at least partly due to all the time in front of a screen.
Having some fun, I gave “Virginie” reading glasses in the novels. I also infer “James” is going to need them eventually. I did so because as I was writing I was feeling I was going to need reading glasses for my real-life self.
My own eyes had begun to require glasses in my twenties for long distance. But as my eyes “matured” further my distance vision oddly improved. Eventually I no longer needed those glasses – they went to charity years ago.
For some years I needed no correction at all, until I began to find reading was becoming more challenging. Probably like many of you (and like “Virginie” and “James”), I began to discover my arms weren’t long enough: I couldn’t hold a book far enough away to make out smaller text comfortably. So glasses for myself were again in order – this time for reading.
Indeed, they’re now absolutely necessary. I mean look at the text in this book. (It was a Christmas present.) Someone’s got to be kidding. Seriously:
Itsy bitsy text is much more common in non-fiction (especially academic books) than in fiction, I grant you. But still…. come on….
No way this is just me. The book’s roughly 15cm x 23cm, which is about 6 inches by 9. The print is tiny; it must be a 6. Maybe. And the pages are white, which is not exactly easy on the eyes either.
In comparison. Ahem. My novels? 5 x 8 inches, cream pages, and Georgia 9 font – a reasonable reading size.
An open letter:
After reading of the Emperor Trajan’s life, I anticipate need of my eyes for other tasks going forward in what time on this earth may remain to me.
Struggling with the Minuscule Print in Wiltshire.
Have a good last day of January, wherever you are in the world. :-)
Specifically, yesterday I was working on a scene that sees two characters disagreeing strongly and moving towards an “explosion,” while a third witnesses the rising tension. This morning, I thought on yesterday’s post. I suppose I could now reply to this question:
6. When did you last talk to yourself? When did you last berate yourself to the point of tears?
It wasn’t merely “talk.” As I was writing yesterday, I was often having a real go. It got pretty heated.
I do write occasionally while talking out loud – particularly when it comes to stretches of extended dialogue, and especially when there are multiple participants. I find it helps me to listen to how it reads to “the ear” as realistic chatter. Good thing I was alone in this case, as the “last third” of me tried several times to step in and calm the increasingly nasty and confrontational other “two-thirds”:
Ah, our loving families. That’s only part of the exchange – which is also the first “sneak peek” I will share into the rough draft for the third (as yet unnamed) novel in the series.
By the way, none of the, uh, “three” of me got teary or berated myself.
Have a good Thursday, wherever you are in the world. ;-)
Early in the life of this blog, I posted on writing “love scenes.” More recently, I reflected on the struggle to avoid “the cringeworthy” while doing so. It’s not easy.
We’re also inconsistent. I find that wider issue perpetually intriguing. To broach it, in the sequel I inserted characters’ discussing it:
I’m not sharing here which characters are having that exchange. ;-) Regardless, I think we get it: violence in storytelling appears to be simply more acceptable than sex.
We also know that, disturbingly, violence can be perceived as sexy, and that sex can be portrayed violently. And they may even overlap. Those are other issues.
Then there’s obscenity. I’m not a big fan of it. I use it only sparingly.
To point that out is not because I’m making some big personal statement; it’s merely because I don’t like it, so I opt simply to have my characters not use it excessively. I “*”d out an obvious letter in that excerpt above because, while it may be in the conversation in the book, I don’t really want to put up stuff like that in the open on my site.
So we slaughter right and left, but labor at locating the appropriate boundaries for how to depict intercourse tastefully, and we need to be mindful of when to use nasty words. It requires no especial insight to assert we’re full of paradoxes.
I’m capable of being of about half a dozen minds on the same issue at the same time. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. We all also know we’ll probably never change.
If you have stopped by here throughout 2014 (Hello again!), you know it has been something of a difficult year for me. Now, I don’t claim I’m unique, of course. We all have personal challenges and troubles.
During all of that, I wrote a sequel to a novel I’d completed in 2013. In the new one, I’ve tried to pen (technically, I typed) 94,000 words that I again hope captures in entertaining fashion the ups and downs of a group of international friends and lovers. I hope it manages to convey both a youthful optimism as well as a need to never forget the fragility of what we think we so firmly possess in this life.
Yesterday, having concluded re-reading it for “errors, dopiness, [and] continuity issues,” I sat back in the desk chair feeling mildly depressed. Again. Much like I recall having felt as I had completed the first book about the same time last year. (Long before there was this site.)
Is that how it will always feel in winding up a novel? There’s an interlude of satisfaction at having conquered a personal mountain. But there’s also almost a sense of loss too: that book is, shall we say, closed as well.
I had also run its 380 pages through the spell and grammar check. (My characters’ conversations are often so deliberately ungrammatical, it took ages.) Next I will read it “as a reader.” As I do that, I make further corrections. After that, I hope I can ship it ’round late next week or so to my faithful volunteer reader/ critics.
As I finished late yesterday, I also realized that in the background Sinatra’s version of Send In The Clowns happened to be coming out of my iPhone. I’ll just leave that where it is. I’m not going to even attempt to interpret the meaning of that coincidence.
When all is said and done, like the first novel this one will stand or fall on its own merits. I think it’s at least as good as the first, and maybe better. But who the heck knows really? Whatever I went through in composing it is meaningless to anyone who will read it. Still, I had quite a headache by the end of the day. I was exhausted.
I had a brandy last night. In the tale, some of the characters are partial to those. They are because I like that drink…. and they are my characters, gosh darn it! :-)
The first time I’d had one was in France a rather, uh, relatively long time ago. (Now, I’m getting depressed again.) I remember having had, umm, one too many. And so had a girlfriend. We were saved when her (sober, designated driver) friend “poured” us two into her tiny (French) car as we three left a party. I recall a lot of laughing among us being involved too.
Mind you, I’m far more mature, staid and intellectual nowadays. ;-)
Have a good Friday, wherever you are…
Oh, by the way, I’m up to 444 social media shares as of this posting. In 48 hours, shares of my posts out there have about tripled. I don’t know where that’s come from, but I hope it’s an omen of good things to come. :-)
The first order went astray, so Amazon.co.uk dispatched another. The historical timeframe in which Winds is set got me thinking about how, pre-internet, pre-blogs, I’d have informed you I’d received the book at last. I might have sent you a telegram:
WINDS ARRIVED FIRST LOST WILL READ WOW VERY LONG MUST STOP
Telegrams were once probably the best means for non-telephonic near instant communications. They were common pre-war and during World War II. How quickly we forget.
And, if I recall correctly, they were used in Winds. You paid by word, so tried to keep messages concise. This below is a classic about how a telegram could be “misunderstood.” In 2013, the BBC told us:
A reporter wanting to know the age of actor Cary Grant sent: HOW OLD CARY GRANT.